I’m studying and need help with a Literature question to help me learn.

Read/review the following resources for this activity:

  • Textbook (Foster): Chapter 5, 22
  • Textbook (Charters):
    • Kate Chopin – “Desiree’s Baby”; “The Story of an Hour”
  • Lecture 1, 2

In but a few short pages, Kate Chopin gives us the story of an abandoned woman, taken in by an older couple, raised as their own, married to a man of great wealth, bearing a child, and once again being tossed aside – this time with a child.

The twice-abandoned Desiree finds solace in Madame Valmonde both times. Madame Valmonde shows Desiree uncompromised love both as a child and as an adult with her own child. It is Armand who is cold and callous, casting Desiree out because their child shows signs of being multi-racial.

A few questions arise about the way in which Kate Chopin is using race as a symbol in “Desiree’s Baby.”

Initial Post Instructions
How does the reaction to race symbolize Chopin’s assessment of the fragility of love and understanding between men and women? (Consider both Armand and Madame Valmonde’s reactions.)

Is Chopin using the child’s multi-racial features to reveal a secret Armand is desperate to keep or do we automatically assume Desiree is multi-racial simply because she was abandoned as a child?

Secondary Post Instructions
There is often great debate over whether Desiree is multi-racial, Armand is multi-racial, or both. For your secondary post, engage fellow classmates who have expressed an opinion on which character(s) is/are multi-racial and make your case. Point out moments from the story that back up your point of view. Also, look for moments from “Desiree’s Baby” that back up your classmate’s point of view.

Writing Requirements

  • In addition to one initial post, respond to at least two peers.
  • Initial Post Length: minimum of 250 words
  • Secondary Post Length: minimum of 200 words per post
  • Using APA format, incorporate appropriate in-text citation(s) referring to the academic concept with corresponding works cited page for the initial post.


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